Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How to negotiate a pay rise in your aviation job

For many aviation industry professionals, the years of recession and pay freezes have dragged on too long. In 2013 there’s a pent-up expectation that salary increases must surely be forthcoming, so how do you go about negotiating and winning that extra pay? If you want to see your salary improve this year, do you know how to go about that crucial negotiation?

The trick is to make sure your manager genuinely sees how valuable an employee you are and wants to keep you. Long before you approach the subject of a pay rise, ask yourself: Are you good at getting management to value you as a person, rather than consider you just a number on a payroll?

Do you stand out from the others as vital within the organisation or department? Are you doing enough to secure more money, considering that – for aviation industry employers – times are still relatively tough?

Know your worth

The first thing to find out is how much you’re worth. Check industry figures and work out what your job should be paying.

If you’re already earning as much as people doing a similar job, you have to be realistic about how much you think you’re likely to get – and how much effort you’ll need to put in to get it. If you’re going to ask for more than your peers, you’ll need a robust reason.

Promote your talents and skills
Good managers recognise that talent deserves reward. Try coming up with some good ideas in meetings with your manager, or perhaps introducing a system that will improve productivity in your division. Make sure any new business you secure or project management successes you achieve are highly visible and acknowledged by all influential colleagues.

Choose your moment

Do some research – or at least think carefully – about when is a good time to broach the subject of a salary increase. How have long-serving colleagues tackled the issue? Is there a protocol at your firm for salary negotiations? You might want to raise the issue in the wake of successfully completing a difficult job. Your appraisal might be the best opportunity. Remember that if you send an email or letter, it’s easy for your manager to formally decline, without giving you the chance to explain why you’re asking, and argue your case. Setting up a face to face meeting might be best.

Have a figure in mind

From the beginning, it will help to be clear in your own mind what salary you would like to be earning. Some career experts say you begin by asking for more than you expect – so an £8,000 rise when you’d settle for £5,000. If you make clear what you are hoping for, you have a good starting position. Remember, it is very difficult to negotiate upwards once an offer is out on the table.

Consider the whole package

Landing a high salary is not the only way to boost your total aviation job income. In many cases company benefits make up a significant proportion of remuneration. Some employers may even be willing to negotiate an increase in salary, and a decrease in benefits and vice versa.

Come up with a compromise

It’s important not to settle for something less than you think you deserve, so even if your request for a meaningful pay rise is rejected, ask for assurance that a rise will come soon. If you make it clear that you aren’t happy with your pay, it’s more likely you’ll be rewarded as soon as a rise is economically possible for the firm – so long as you really are someone worth keeping. And if you’re really getting disillusioned, have a Plan B – which could be seeking a promotion or finding an entirely new job.

Remember employers don’t like losing skilled aviation professionals, and it costs a lot to recruit good engineers, fitters, fabricators, contollers and pilots. Employers don’t want a mass exodus as soon as the wider economy picks up. So when negotiating for a pay rise, tread carefully, be honest, make your ambitions known. Hopefully your pay rise will be in the bag if not immediately, then later in the year.

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